The Reverend Jim Jones claimed that his high cheekbones and dark hair were due to the Cherokee blood from his mother's side. He stated that his immediate family was interracial by adoption and that he was a man of many racial and ethnic streams, but did not further specify ethnicity.
According to PBS, Jim Jones grew up in Indiana, and his father was a disabled veteran of the Great War. His son, Jim Jones, Jr., is black, and his adopted children are Korean and black. Jim Jones started People's Temple with the motivation to break away from mainstream denominations that serviced congregations of single races. As the congregation of People's Temple became predominantly black or African-American, Jones started talking about himself as a black man.